For me, January seldom means soul-searching. I make New Year’s resolutions, but I never intend to keep them. The ritual of goal-setting is as much a comfort as eating black-eyed peas for good luck. When I draw a Tarot card on New Year’s Eve, I know it won’t it offer any real guidance. It’s just fun to down champagne and drunkenly read my own fortune.
This year, however, I have a specific goal in mind: weight loss. Although I spent 2013 as an advocate for fat acceptance, the experience left me raw and vulnerable. I no longer have an identity outside She Who Has Been Bullied. I still believe in the body positive movement, but I seldom feel comfortable in my own skin. When I’m alone in front of a mirror in a public restroom, I see someone who could be beautiful: a well-dressed chick with pale green eyes, porcelain skin, full lips. So, I do what most of us do when we feel pretty: I snap several selfies. I upload the photos to MyCeleb, where I am compared to Monica Bellucci, Aishwarya Rai, Angelina Jolie. Suck it, world! I think. I’m fucking pretty.
Then, someone opens the door to the restroom. It doesn’t matter what she looks like. The restroom mirror becomes a funhouse mirror, and an immensely fat person is reflected back at me. I worry I betray other fat girls when I nitpick my own body, but my reflection repulses me. I look bloated and sick. I push the flab on my chin toward my ears and wonder what it’d be like to be pretty.
I may never know. Losing weight isn’t the answer. I only know I’m uncomfortable in my skin. Other fat girls are cute. Perhaps confidence does have something to do with it… I want to find out. I need to lose the weight before I turn thirty-five. (I’m thirty-three now.) I feel young, but I know I’m “old.” I wasted my twenties. I didn’t have any boyfriends. Nobody called me beautiful.
Should it matter? Of course. When I was in elementary school, we learned human beings need four things to survive: water, food, shelter, and love. I can romanticize my life as The Hermit, and in truth, I don’t really need anyone, but I feel sad and empty. My depression and moods have cost me a lot of friends. Not many people like me these days. I can understand why: people are drawn to inspiring, uplifting people. Nobody likes a lone wolf (unless said lone wolf is a sexy dude on a TV show or something).
I’ll start small. I’ll eat carrots instead of chips. I’ll drink more water than soda. I’ll only eat out once a week. I’ll work out every day, via DVD. I’ll clean the house. I’ll read more. I’m only in Austin for a few more months, so I might as well spend my time wisely and reprogram my mind. By March 1st, I want to feel confident enough to brave the gym.
Change takes time. I’m especially hard on myself when it comes to social interaction, but if I feel good about myself, I think it’ll be easier for me to interact with people. I think they’ll like me more. I’m tired of feeling damaged.
So, here’s to 2014! May it be a pretty good year–the year I finally heal.